‘This, folks, is huge’ – Farage reacts to Reform’s early success against Tories

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has hailed the prospect of a “huge” General Election result as an early surge by the party pushed the Tories into third place in four constituencies.

The party had an early boost as they polled second, ahead of the Conservatives in Houghton and Sunderland South, Sunderland Central, Washington and Gateshead South and Blyth and Ashington.

The party is set to win 13 seats, according to the exit poll for BBC, Sky and ITV.

The party, which was only formed in 2018, currently only has one MP, Lee Anderson, who defected from the Conservatives.

More victories would mark the the first time Reform have managed to secure an MP at the ballot box.

Mr Farage had earlier declined to say what number of MPs they would classify as a win, but 13 elected representatives is higher than predictions by most polls.

On a video posted to X, he said: “It’s midnight, there are two results in from the north east of England that put Reform on 30% of the vote, that is way more than any possible prediction or projection. It is almost unbelievable.

“And what does it mean? It means we’re going to win seats, many many seats I think right now across the country.”

He added: “This is going to be six million votes plus. This folks is huge.”

The clip was captioned: “The revolt against the establishment is under way.”

In Houghton and Sunderland South Reform UK candidate Sam Woods-Brass received 11,668 votes to Conservative candidate Chris Burnicle’s 5,514.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson won the constituency with 18,837 votes, achieving just over 47% of the vote share and a majority of 7,169.

General Election 2024
Labour’s Bridget Phillipson at Silkworth Community Pool Tennis & Wellness Centre in Sunderland, during the count for the 2024 General Election. Picture date: Thursday July 4, 2024.

Reform has seen similar success on the second seat of the night, coming in second place in Blyth and Ashington with 10,857 votes, as Labour secured 20,030 votes and the Tories came third with 6,121 votes.

It has been said that Reform’s wide but thin support would not facilitate their success in a first-past-the-post system and Mr Farage has been vocal about the need for changes to the electoral system.

So, the early successes will bolster Reform’s confidence as Mr Farage had previously said this election was only the “tip of the iceberg” for the start-up party as they build to bigger success in 2029.

Mr Farage has tried and failed to get elected to Parliament seven times in the past, and if polls are correct it may be the eighth time lucky.

The exit poll by Ipsos UK for Sky News, the BBC and ITV News, said Reform UK have a likelihood of 99%-plus that Farage will win the seat in Clacton, Essex.

Mr Farage’s electoral agent and Reform UK councillor Peter Harris has said their party leader is “up for the challenge” of facing up to a Labour government and the exit poll prediction of 13 seats is “hugely exciting”.

Mr Harris told the PA news agency: “Anything’s possible if enough good decent people want change, then they can vote for it, as Brexit has proved before.

“So, we were always hoping for multiple seats, 13 I’d like even more than that, really. So I think we wait and see once all the votes are counted we’ll see how many we’ve actually got, but yeah, hugely exciting.

“Obviously, I’m completely focused on Clacton and our candidate here, Nigel Farage, we’re extremely confident that he’s going to be one of those 13 seats that gets elected to Westminster.”

On Mr Farage’s potential impact in Westminster, Mr Harris said: “He stood alone in the European Parliament, and he got the changes that he wanted and as he said to the European Parliament that when he first got there, they laughed at him and then when we left he said ‘well, you’re not laughing now’.

“So you know, I can see Nigel will be a huge voice not just for Clacton but a huge voice for so many people in this country that have felt abandoned and betrayed. So, yeah, I think Nigel is up for the challenge.”